MV/Santa Elena hiking- shoes/boots, other queries

Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 02:58 AM
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MV/Santa Elena hiking- shoes/boots, other queries

Hello All
Heading to MV/Santa Elena (a day at each reserve)..I am unclear as to what foot attire to bring. Are our merrell -h20 proof- short hiking boots enough or should we plan on renting rubber boots and bring heavy, knee high socks? Some say bring a rainjacket, others say no...?
Also, pls comment on clothing: zip trousers for hiking and a l/s warmer layer for evenings? Will also be in Arenal for 2 nights, assume weather is similar?

MV parking- staying in Santa Elena, we have a vehicle, is there parking available at MV or should we take a taxi and meander back? Do we purchase entry tickets the night before, can you do this without a tour? If we dont make entry first thing, when is the next best time to go?
Thanks!
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Just got back from CR and found Santa Elena (we didn't go to MV although I am assuming is the same) to be chilly and wet. I wore a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and a waterproof windbreaker. I just wore my short hiking boots and was fine but can see the potential for rubber boots on some of the trails around Santa Elena-you can rent them there. We don't typically do the "tour" thing but did take a guided tour at Santa Elena first thing in the morning (bought the tickets that morning) and were glad that we had a guide. They have an eye for finding critters/birds that you probably would have passed by on your own without noticing. As for parking, there is a place to park at Santa Elena.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Arenal can be much warmer than MV.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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thanks for info.

i've been contemplating on where (going to several places throughout CR)to do the guide-same as you, not our style.

santa elena..anything to share on town, food experiences, etc.? Notice/assume gas and atm are there?
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Even if you aren't the "tour type" (and sometimes those little tours are outstanding such as Cano Negro at Arenal), we have always benefited from seeing certain areas of Costa Rica with a guide. They are highly trained, are a wealth of information, and simply have a way of making the entire experience more complete. You see more, you learn more, etc. The rainforest (or cloud forest) is quite complex. We continue to be fascinated by the levels of interdependence contained therein. All brought to you by your local guide!

Also, they are trained in so many areas. While doing a hike through the cloud forest, your guide will also recognize the call of many birds and will add that experience to your tour, enriching your experience yet again.

We met a guide down near Puerto Viejo a few years ago who is just such a wonderful fellow. Clearly, everyone in the area respects him and he is friendly with everyone. I was impressed to hear him tell of his 3 months of intensive training in several areas of Costa Rica--followed by lots of individual study to further his knowledge. Costa Rica has trained its naturalists well, you have to be impressed just a bit!

Another little sidebar to that, always, always, we have enjoyed time with a guide because of engaging conversation that occurs during the outing. Sharing of cultures, stories, getting to know someone, hearing about their life, sharing a bit of yours. That is all kind of fun as well.

I remember our time in Monteverde a couple of July's ago. It was hotter than heck--all day, all night, no rain or mist in sight (but that's another story). The bank in Monteverde had been robbed just a few months earlier, several people were killed. 9, I think. I had hired a guide for early morning birding, and during our walk, he talked about that day. About how his wife and children were on the way to the bank, how he thought they were there and couldn't find out. How he finally discovered they had made a stop at his mother's house first so were not at the scene. It was quite a tale and his emotion in telling it was, of course, strong. He also told about living in Monteverde as a child and how his father would grow shade coffee and take it to market in Puntarenas, always returning with a little gift for the kids. He told about how much time he spent playing in the forest as a child and what the forest meant to him. All while we were hiking and bird watching. Yes, we saw plenty of birds as well--but I assure you it was time well spent!

Sorry to have rambled--reminiscing more than anything!
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Not the original poster, here, but thanks to all for their responses. I don't know that we'll be in many areas where we'll be needing a guide on this trip, but it's good to hear the "other" reasons to get one. I can use that "argument" with my more independent minded travel companions (my DH, for sure).

Shillmac, a special thanks for your reminiscing. Reminds again of why I always enjoyed meeting Ticos, and learning more about them and their country.

May can't get here soon enough.

Fran

Fran
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 04:57 AM
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Hi travelpair. Santa Elena is a very small town. We ate at a good tico place that unfortunately I can't remember the name. It's on the same side of the street as the supermercado a couple doors down on the right from the sub shop, there's a souvenir shop connected to it. We also went to one that was across the street but really didn't enjoy it that much. There is a gas station near by on your way to Monteverde from Santa Elena. There is also a bank in town that has an ATM. Unfortunately for us, my card which is a Plus card would not work even though the ATM said it accepted Plus cards. We ended up having to take an advance out on a credit card.
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